An estimated 102,000 people attended the 18th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade in Anaheim, Calif., over the weekend while nearly 33,000 more showed up via live webcast.
It's become an annual tradition for some “So Cal” (southern California) families as the evangelistic crusade at Anaheim's Angel Stadium is one of the only crusades that has run for 18 years. And every year thousands return for the hottest Christian bands and up-to-date messages from evangelist Greg Laurie, who reminds them of the brevity of life.
"What are you doing with your life?" Laurie asked the large crowd Saturday night from the center of the baseball field. "What are you living for? What's going to happen to you when you die?"
Thousands attended the Harvest Crusade for the first time, some not knowing what to expect.
Maybe you've come here dissatisfied, said Laurie while addressing 32,000 people on Sunday. "You've tried philosophy; you've tried religion."
Beyond religious rituals or attending church every weekend, Laurie hoped for the thousands to accept Jesus Christ into their lives.
Rather than just saying "I believe in Jesus," Laurie urged the crowd to follow Jesus, who says, "Turn your life over to me."
But many want salvation on their own terms, Laurie indicated. Many cringe at the notion of having to admit being a sinner.
"You like to think that if you live a good life, God will let you into heaven," he said. "Let's say good works will do it. Do you think you've done enough good things to get you into heaven?"
Even one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven, Laurie said bluntly.
The Bible teaches "good works don't save you," he stressed. "You have to say "God, I'm a sinner.'"
A recent LifeWay Research survey revealed that many of America's teenagers are confused about how to get to heaven. Only 28 percent trust only in Jesus Christ as their way to heaven; 27 percent said they trust in their own kindness to others; and 26 percent trust in their religiosity as their means to get to heaven.
How do you gain eternal life?
By being "born again," Laurie indicated.
It's a term often tossed around but not clearly understood, the evangelist added.
Essentially, "you cannot be a Christian without being born again," said Laurie. To be born again implies change.
"All around you tonight is hard evidence of changed lives," Laurie told skeptics. "Put your faith in Him."
Over 9,500 people made decisions for Christ over the course of the Aug. 3-5 crusade.